Edelman’s New Consumer Study, brandshare™, Proves a Strong Link Between Inclusive Brand Marketing and Business Value

Edelman’s new consumer study, brandshare, found that an overwhelming majority (90 percent) of people across eight countries want marketers to more effectively share their brands. Yet on average, only 10 percent of people think any given brand does it well.

brandshare measured six dimensions of sharing – shared dialog, shared experience, shared goals, shared values, shared product and shared history – and found a link between effective brand sharing and business value; the greatest business value coming from shared product and shared values.

“brandshare is an ethos and organizing principle that begins with putting people at the center of brand strategy and prioritizes activities based on people’s interests and needs,” said Jennifer Cohan, global chair of Consumer Marketing, Edelman.

The study found that sharing a product is one of the most significant factors impacting purchase decision. A large majority (91 percent) of respondents said they want to have a hand in the design and development process, with that desire being equal among those in developed and emerging markets. People also want complete openness about product performance with nine out of 10 wanting to know how they are made and how they should perform against competitors.

Of the six sharing dimensions, shared values has the highest unmet demand among people. More than nine in 10 (92 percent) respondents across the eight countries surveyed – U.S., UK, France, Germany, Canada, Brazil, China and India – want to do business with brands that share their beliefs. In addition, nearly half of the respondents (47 percent) want brands to be more transparent about how products are sourced and manufactured, just over four in 10 (43 percent) want brands to do more to give back to their communities.

A strong majority (91 percent) of the people surveyed want brands to enable their personal goals. The study found that people would rather be asked what they need before being told how to get there. This is true in product categories where people lack confidence in their knowledge and expertise, such as financial services and technology. Those surveyed in France (50 percent), Brazil (43 percent) and the UK (40 percent) agreed brands should do more to demonstrate they share and support people’s ambitions.

The key to successfully sharing a brand experience with people is to make sure the experience is as much about people’s interests as it is about the products. Shared brand experiences are in high demand among both emerging market (87 percent) and developed market (82 percent) respondents. Yet, a much larger percentage of emerging markets respondents (60 percent) believe that shared experience is more important in the relationship between consumer and brand than their developed market counterparts (18 percent) do.

People continue to look for a more thoughtful dialog with brands, where their opinions are solicited and responses are acted upon. Four in 10 respondents say they want brands to listen and respond more thoughtfully – twice as many who desire more branded content.

Shared history correlates most strongly to purchase and recommendation intent although only 26 percent of people are actively demanding more of it.

The study revealed significant gaps between expectation and delivery on the dimensions of sharing. When comparing people’s expectations (how important they believe it is for a brand to demonstrate a specific behavior) to perceived performance, the biggest gaps are found in the areas of shared values, shared goals and shared products.

“We now know more about how brands should be engaging with consumers and they must focus on a multi-disciplinary marketing approach,” said Alan VanderMolen, president and CEO, global practices, Edelman and vice chairman, DJE Holdings. “Marketers must evolve from a traditional linear model of focus groups that ends with the consumer to one that involves people at every stage. Brands must also synchronize their brand marketing and corporate communications narrative into one cohesive message, while redesigning current engagement channels to incorporate higher-value sharing.”

About brandshare™

brandshare is Edelman’s largest-ever consumer study and examines the evolving relationship between people and brands. The survey was produced by research firm Edelman Berland and consisted of 30-minute online interviews conducted between June 12, 2013 and July 12, 2013. The brandshare online survey sampled 11,000 consumers in the U.S., UK, Canada, France, Germany, Brazil, India and China, and evaluated approximately 212 local and multi-national brands. 

October 4, 2013 Correction: An earlier version of this press release stated 225 brands were evaluated; 212 brands were evaluated. It also stated of those surveyed in the U.S., 43 percent agreed brands should do more to demonstrate they share and support people's ambitions; the correct statistic for the U.S. is 39 percent.

For more information, contact:
Michael Bush